During 2017, LEEP launched the UC-Boulder-Acre Partnership, a collaboration with professors, researchers, and administrators at the University of Colorado (UCB), governmental officials from the state of Acre, Brazil (Acre), and professors and administrators from the Federal University of Acre (UFAC). This partnership focuses on bi-directional education and exchange to promote learning across cultural, geographical, and disciplinary boundaries and to draw from both expertise across academic departments at UCB as well as colleagues and practitioners in Acre. The LEEP lab is also actively developing research projects in Acre that explore (1) connections between Acre’s state environmental policies and sustainable livelihood development, and (2) intersections between forest conservation strategies and public health. These research agendas unite policy analysts and academics in Acre with natural and social scientists from UCB, focusing on interdisciplinary approaches to real-world problem solving.
CU Boulder hosted a two-week exchange at CU with Tião Viana, the Governor of Acre, and a high-level delegation of civil servants working in the areas of environment and forestry, climate, sustainable business, communications, and tourism. The exchange included meetings with CU Deans and professors from law, environmental studies, engineering, and continuing education in addition to other university leaders. The Acre delegation consulted with business leaders in sustainable food production, visited the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
As a result of the meetings in Boulder, Caspar Ammann, an NCAR Climate Scientist, has been working with Acre’s Climate Change Institute to develop an approach to climate modeling based on the raw data Acre collects on a daily basis. Additionally, UCB’s International English Center (IEC), with support from the U.S. State Deparment, will promote the exchange with UFAC by setting up a center in Acre to provide access to online English courses.
Subseqent on-site and in-person meetings between CU and UFAC officials and professors have resulted in concrete plans to create collaborative courses and graduate programs. We are currently in the process of finalizing plans for summer pilot programs in Acre for students from UFAC and CU. One program will focus on indigenous peoples, led by University of Colorado Law’s Dean James Anaya, and LEEP’s Co-director Colleen Scanlan Lyons. A second will be a short-course focusing on sustainable community development and led by LEEP Fellow and founder of Engineers without Borders – USA, Bernard Amadei, and Scanlan Lyons.